Written by Canon Wing

I teach entrepreneurs and organizations the proven action steps to stand out within their market, improve the perceived value of their business, and better connect with their audience through naming, branding, storytelling, and communication platforms.

March 23, 2021

How Authority Builds Trust in a New Brand

Today we are asking the question: What’s the Best Way For a New Brand to Build Authority?

Obviously a well-established brand has years of experience to tout, and years of testimonials to share, so what are the best ways for a new brand to establish the kind of authority that puts the minds of Ideal Individuals instantly at ease? Any way you slice it, a good brand is a promise kept. And a GREAT brand is a promise kept again and again and again. That’s how a brand secures brand loyalty, and no matter what business you are in, brand loyalty is your business plan.

Today I’m going to give you Four Innovative Strategies for Building Authority so your new brand doesn’t miss out on accessing the power of this awesome emotional trigger that helps your Ideal Individuals feel safe and smart for choosing your brand.

First we have: Name Your Higher Purpose

In the not-so-distant past, big department stores were all the rage, but with the way the market has been trending over the past several years as the digital marketplace has steadily groomed consumers to rely more and more on reviews to help us make our purchasing decisions, smaller specialty stores and niche businesses are making a major comeback. People are beginning to favor brands who choose one thing, and then strive to do that one thing better than anyone else.

Any chance you’ve come across Bombas? They are a niche online retail store whose website only offers two items: really high-quality socks, and super soft T-shirts. And that’s it.Bombas launched in 2013 using money they raised through a crowdfunding website, and at that time they only had two things to offer people: A really good quality product, and a higher purpose. You see the inspiration for launching Bombas came when the company founders, Randy Goldberg and David Heath, learned that socks are the most requested clothing item in homeless shelters. After spending many dedicated hours in research and development to create a high-quality, durable, and comfortable pair of socks, they brought their product to the people along with a promise, that for every pair of socks sold, a pair of socks would be donated to various homeless shelters across the country.

The average pair of Bombas cost around $16, and as of 2021, they’ve donated over 40 million pairs of socks to people who need them most. Can you guess how I found out about Bombas? Word of mouth advertising. A friend told me. We were chatting on the phone and she busts out with, “I just spent $150 on 10 pairs of socks.” I was like, “What? WHY?’ And she said, “I know. But Canon, seriously they are the best socks I’ve ever owned. So comfortable, super durable. I still have my first pair from 5 years ago, and they look and feel like new. Plus every time I buy a pair of socks from them for myself, they donate a pair to a homeless shelter. So really I bought 20 pairs of socks, but I gave half of them away to a good cause.” Next thing I know, I’m asking her, “What was the name of that company again…?”

Naming your brand’s higher purpose, the heart and the humanity behind what your brand has to offer the world, is an incredibly powerful use of authority, because it makes your brand an expert in making the world a better place. When your brand leads in its mission with a higher purpose, you make the purchase an instant win. When we join the Bombas brand community, it is an experience of feeling like we are part of something good. Something we can feel good about. We become authorities for helping Bombas get clean new socks on the feet of millions of people who are suffering, and it’s a feeling we are eager to share with others. You don’t need a whole lot of bells and whistles, celebrity endorsements, or a PhD to begin establishing authority within your community. But for a new brand, a clearly established and widely published higher purpose, makes your brand an instant authority for making the world a better place, and that builds trust. So name that high purpose, make your ideal audience a promise, and then keep it over and over and over again.

Next we have: Product Knowledge Is Key

Apple has The Genius Bar. Best Buy has The Geek Squad. Spotify has The Spotify Mafia. These are the resident brand authorities established to help customers make informed purchasing decisions.

I remember a specific example actually, of a time when I went into an electronics store and wound up walking out without purchasing a pricey pair of headphones that I really had my eye on. I noticed a sales associate passing by and I say:

“Excuse me, can I ask you a few questions?” A friendly looking young guy— I’d even call him a kid at this point, comes over to me smiling and chewing gum…”Of course, how can I help you?”

“Yeah these wireless headphones, can you tell me how long they hold a charge?”

He says, “Sure!” And grabs the box and starts turning it over and over in his hands. I mean…I’d already thought to check the box myself, but I just wait until he says, “Ummm, it doesn’t look like it’s written on the box herrre…uhhh…”

So I quickly say “Oh that’s okay, no worries!” And I just sort of meandered out of there. I mean these were, like— a $200 pair of headphones, and even though I already knew I liked the brand, I just didn’t feel comfortable making the transaction at that store!

I wound up buying the exact same pair from Best Buy a few days later.

Be the resident expert on your products or services, and as you build your brand, emphasize the importance of product knowledge to every person who will be in contact with your customers.  

Oh, and you know what? Here’s a bonus tip I didn’t think of before that fits in this category as well! If you developed your product or service yourself, it may seem like a no-brainer that you are already an expert, but you would be surprised how many people who have had their own company for years, still struggle to easily answer the question, What does your business do?

Here’s a great tip for you: Be able to express in one snappy sentence exactly who your business is and what value it provides.

We are BLANK and we help BLANK with BLANK.

Boom. Get your snappy sentence together, and have it ready to go.

As a new brand you can start to build trust through authority with greater ease when you are able to speak clearly and confidently about the value your brand brings into the lives of other people.

Next we have: Find Your Experts

Okay, so do you need to have a PhD, or a celebrity endorsement to create Authority? No, but it is still an effective strategy for building trust in your brand. Touching back on the first strategy of naming your brands higher purpose, ask yourself who are thought leaders in not only in your specific industry, but also who shares your same higher purpose? Now if you were Bombas, and your higher purpose was to fill the overwhelming need in homeless shelters for warm, clean socks, you could do some research to see who else out there is strongly advocating for improving the lives of homeless people, you could interview people who volunteer at homeless shelters who have seen firsthand the need for socks, or volunteers who have received and distributed Bombas shipments to those who need them. If you want to get a Doctor involved, some Bombas socks have an antimicrobial treatment, and others offer compression. You could seek out interviews with doctors who understand the benefits of these features, and release the information as informative content to your community. Case studies can make for very compelling and Authority-establishing content. A good story is always in demand. You can even dig deeper into the past and create case studies around historical figures who were experts in their own right. Ancient wisdom is often a very valuable authority that builds trust.

Another great strategy is to invite experts to take over your social media platform, go live, and offer Q and A’s with your community. An important part of building brand trust is making an effort to deepen the relationship outside of the context of making a transaction. Offering valuable content that isn’t alway sales related, but still affirms brand authority, is a great way to make your ideal individuals feel like your brand really cares.

And Finally, Collect Social Proof

All brand’s need to be doing this to stay relevant in 2021 and beyond, but it is especially important for a new brand to collect positive reviews, testimonials, online shout-outs, images of celebrities using your products or services, and any other content you can get your hands on that clearly demonstrates the values your brand is contributing to the lives of your brand community. Social proof is like a branding brain hack, a psychological and social phenomenon, that has proven that people will adopt the actions and behaviors of the masses to align themselves with what is considered to be acceptable, or correct in a given circumstance.  Basically, if people are frequently being shown how much your brand community is loving your brand, then they are triggered by the phenomenon of social proof to consider your brand community to be established authorities. And anyways, I don’t think I have to convince anyone of how important reviews are to making purchases, because all digital consumers are reading reviews, searching for the social proof we need to feel good about what we buy. We all do it! Your brand community is the most powerful authority on the greatness of your brand, and word-of-mouth advertising is the #1 way a new brand can Come Out of Nowhere and Become an Inspiration to Millions, so keep them close, and keep your promises.

Remember that the purpose of using authority in branding is to establish trust, and never to position your brand above your Ideal audience. Always use authority from a caring and helpful standpoint, and as an opportunity to start a conversation. Branding is always a conversation, never a dictation. 

Thank you so much for joining me! If you enjoyed this article be sure to follow me on YouTube and Facebook so you don’t miss a single thing. I release new videos every Tuesday and Thursday, so treat these lessons as a masterclass for becoming an Inspiration to Millions with Branding. And as always the way to becoming an Inspiration to Millions starts with our motto: Love What You Do and Love How You Do It.